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Do You Have a Fear of Investing? 5 Steps to Get Over It

Doing anything new can be terrifying. Investing is no exception. 

There are scary techniques to master, rules to follow, terminology to learn, and brokerage websites to navigate. Plus, the prospect of spending your money with uncertain return can be frightening.

But you can learn slowly and then advance as you overcome your fears.
For example, when I started riding a road bike (with cars and trucks passing me at 35 mph and faster!) I struggled with everything – how to dress, how to change gears, and more. There was so much to learn and do that despite the pleasure, I had intense anxiety, which sadly lasted for years!

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Is Tax Strategy Included in Your Financial Goals?

Without fail, each new year brings heartfelt resolutions for improvement. Did you promise to live healthier this year? Did you vow to spend more quality time with your loved ones? If you were like most people I know, you probably made getting your finances together your mission for 2014. This is a great mission to have. Life is so much easier with an organized, functioning, profitable financial life, right?

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Do You Need to Break Some Bad Habits?

by Patrice C. Washington

For many of us, New Year’s resolutions symbolize achieving a new goal, but what about letting go of bad habits?

As a personal finance coach, most goals I hear surround money. Often people want me to tell them how they can fire their boss, make more money and live happily ever after. Many are stunned and for some reason frustrated, however, when I reveal that it’s not about their boss or how much money they are making. It’s about them, the money they are wasting and the bad habits that are holding their lives and personal finances hostage.

Check the list to see if you find any bad habits that may have kept you broke last year.

1. You are hopelessly insecure. Every time you make a decision, and in this case purchase, based on what you believe someone else will ‘think’ about you as opposed to what’s best for you and your situation, you make a decision to take one step closer into Brokedom. There will never be a way for you to achieve your financial goals if you continue to care what others think about you. Once you learn to stop giving a damn about what other people think about what you drive, where you live or what kind of purse you’re rocking, you may actually have a chance to build some wealth!

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Could You Live An ALL Cash Life?

by Rhonda J. Williams

Don’t PANIC!  Living and loving the all cash life does not require you to give up your debit cards and credit cards, well perhaps your credit cards. 

Living and loving the all cash life is about moving away from a dependence on debt, creating more options for your family and freeing yourself to be able to love, live, and give according to your dreams. The utilization of debt to fund the “American Dream” has turned into the path to an American nightmare.  The US now carries more than $850 billion dollars worth of credit card.  I’m not even sure how many zeros are in one billion.

Clearly the use of debt can help make the opportunity to receive a higher education, purchase a home or start a small business possible.  However, many are stuck in a habit and mindset of using debt as a way of life or to fund a lavish lifestyle.  The “opportunity” to attend the prestigious private college you love was a great experience while it lasted, but graduating with no job in site and a $50K student loan due was clearly not the “opportunity” you were seeking.  Here are 3 quick tips to start living and loving the all cash life.

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Should Paychecks go to Savings?

by Patrice C. Washington

If you’re like most, you might find it difficult to transfer money to your savings account each month. After the bills have been paid and you run through a few discretionary dollars, you’re just waiting on that next check to roll around. Yes, I totally understand.

But, with all the money wasted on overdraft and bank fees annually in this country (approximately $38 billion per year), there has got to be some place you can find that additional money!

Well, a while back, a reader and friend of the blog, Lauren, asked me whether or not she should put money in her savings account first and then transfer what she needs bi-weekly to pay bills.

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Is Clutter Keeping You Back Financially?

by Patrice C. Washington

If Spring time is the only time Americans begin to mention cleaning, I have NO idea what the heck is going on during the rest of the year. If you’re like many Americans who contribute to the $22 billion per year storage space industry, its likely that you are up to your eyeballs with stuff you don’t need otherwise known as clutter.

Most over consuming Americans reportedly have almost $900 worth of unused and unwanted items sitting around their home.  What could you do with $900 right now?  What is the mound of clutter in your life holding you back from? Well, besides an audition for the show Hoarders, you may be missing out on the establishment of a savings fund, investment opportunities, books for your college kid next semester,  a summer vacation . . . . Need we go on?

 Here are 5 Ways to Finally Kick Clutter to the Curb . . . And, Make Some Cash!

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Do You Know When to Toss Financial Documents?

by Patrice C. Washington

Managing your money can create a lot of paper work, but don’t drain yourself with holding on to anything longer than you have to. If you’re like me and just want to know you have something “just in case,” then scan and save your documents in well organized folders on a computer you back up often or in a cloud based technology like Dropbox.  If you opt for paperless or e-billing and receive your statements in your e-mail box, then there’s no need to scan. You can simply save your statements as a PDF and save yourself time, paper and energy!

Here are some tips on exactly when to toss old financial records.

1. Keep for a Year or Less:

Bank Statements – Review when you receive them. Look for unauthorized purchases, and keep the last three. If your self-employed, hold on to at least 12 months in order to prove your income for qualification purposes.
Monthly Bills – Review for accuracy but there’s no need to keep them for more than a quarter at the most.
Credit Card Bills – Review your bill for any billing errors. I suggest keeping these for at least six months, and indefinitely if you’ve used your credit card for business purposes noted on your taxes.
Paycheck Stub – I say you should always have your last three pay stubs. You never know when  you’ll need to prove income for a loan or other necessity. Keep the last few in the year to compare against your W-2 or 1099. If it doesn’t match, go to your employer and request a change.  Otherwise, you can shred them as your W-2 is good enough for filing taxes.
Insurance Policies – Always keep the most recent policy. Old ones don’t matter once a new one takes effect.

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